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Boosting Employee Wellness

Boosting Employee Wellness
To build productive and thriving onsite teams – that's the goal of leaders everywhere.  But the creation of high-performing employees involves more than simply training them for their specific jobs. Companies have to truly care about their employees' overall well-being. Working in multifamily can be extremely fulfilling, but it's also demanding and comes with no small amount of stress. Property management firms have an obligation to help their employees take care of themselves and be the best version of themselves they can be. Below are suggestions for boosting employee wellness. • Promote physical fitness. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever, and team members who are physically fit are bound to be happier, more energetic and more productive. Provide discounts to memberships to local gyms or implement a gym membership reimbursement program.  Hold friendly, low-key competitions among team members to see who can exercise the most during a certain timeframe and offer a great prize for the winner. If your company does this, it might want to give employees digital step trackers or incorporate some other type of technology to track team members' progress. Also, encourage team members to share their progress in these competitions on social media, as this can help employees within your company connect with each other and create bonds that foster wellness.  Beyond such competitions, urge your employees to take regular walking or exercise breaks during the day. Also, consider bringing in nutritionists to speak with employees about healthy eating, and make sure your onsite vending machines offer som......
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Opening more doors for women in commercial real estate


theRRD's Joe Killinger sits down with Sturai Yusufi of Commercial Brokers International to talk about women in commercial real estate. Sturai shares her experiences, how she broke into the field, and advice for those looking to break the cre glass ceiling.

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The Boston Marathon, and Why You Shouldn't Pit Your Leasing Agents Against Each Other

This year's Boston Marathon was no joke.

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. It was in Boston! ("Boo Boston! Hiss!" said the Yankee fans.)

Professional runners dropped out of the prestigious race because of hypothermia symptoms. In April!

Desiree Linden, the winner of the women's title (and the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, which is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but is definitely awesome, and therefore worth a mention), almost quit herself. According to reports, she wasn't feeling well at the beginning. So when her teammate Shalane Flanagan had to make a porta potty stop in the middle of the race, Linden waited for her so she could help her get back to the front. (Because women always have to go to the bathroom in groups, right? I'm allowed to say it because I'm a woman.) She figured she might as well help her teammate if she couldn't help herself.

Despite that delay, Linden won. And, with her help, Flanagan secured seventh place. Not too shabby.

Look at that teamwork! Linden could have easily left her friend in the dust. Would she still have won? Maybe.

But maybe not.

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Community Contacts Create Outreach Opportunities

  We are all chasing the elusive magic ticket that brings prospective residents to the apartment community.  We invest our marketing budgets in AdWords.  The staff is scheduled to update Craigs List.  With every visit, the guest card documents the source of traffic.  “How did you hear about us?”  And we drill down to evaluate the cost of bringing traffic to our community.  Sometimes overlooked and too often assumed, is the answer to an equally important question.  “Why are you moving?”  The answer to this question could be the doorway for an Outreach Marketing opportunity.  Learning about the local businesses and their hiring practices is the foundation for effective development of community contacts. -An employer is adding to the workforce. -A new employer is coming to the area. -Another apartment community has been sold and rents are being increased. -A business is opening a new location. The occupancy at an apartment community can be quickly affected by economic development in an area. Actively participating in economic organizations such as The Chamber of Commerce or The Rotary can provide new leads for marketing outreach.  Connecting with community contacts can provide an inside track to Human Resource Departments. Participation Is The Key The key to membership in community organizations is participation. Having a membership because someone  might include print material in their welcome package, or will include a link to your property webpage has little chance of generating leads and potential move ins. Attending the meetings, networking with business leaders has the opportunity to create g......
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What you need to know about service dogs & emotional support animals.

There seems to be some confusion in our industry as to the difference between a service dog versus an emotional support animal and the documentation needed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) defines service dogs as any guide dog, signal dog, who is trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability and a therapy dog provides healing to his or her companion or family, as well as hundreds of other people in a therapeutic setting – whether a hospital, a school or a retirement home.…Another difference between therapy and service dogs is that the latter are often picked by breed for certain characteristics.  The ADA is specific about a service “dog” and states that it must be a dog, with some exceptions for miniature horses. Since the Emotional Support Animal does not perform any specific tasks for a person, the accessibility it has is limited. The Emotional Support Animal does have a right to be kept in a “no pets” policy apartment/condo and also to ride in the cabin of an aircraft. By Federal Laws, these are the only two places that an ESA is legally allowed. For your Emotional Support animal to be legitimate you will need the following; A letter from your mental health (or other medical professionals) stating your need for the ESA. Your ESA letter must be on your mental health professional’s letterhead. The ESA letter must also include the doctor’s license number, where it was issued and the date it was issued. The letter may need to be upda......
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The Best Outreach Marketing Tool: Your Service Team

You are spending money advertising your community online, to businesses in your area, for campaigns designed to reach out to the right demographics.  Your company has a Reputation Management Department specialized in damage control, as most of the potential renters are checking online reviews before considering to become your residents- I called that reactive marketing. What if I told you that you are underutilizing the best marketing tool that is already at your disposal: your service team. Consider this:  Your current residents are the best vehicle for spreading the word about how great is to live at your community to their friends, family and co-workers. Most of them only walk into your office only three times: when touring the community, signing the lease and turning in keys at the move out. The only associates they may be in contact with for the length of their stay are your service team members.  Besides residents families and close friends, chances are that nobody else except your service team has the privilege to enter their homes.  Focus on making your service team visits count: professional appearance and efficient service goes a long way.  As a consequence, you will end up with: a happy resident, hopefully followed by a great online review and a recommendation for your community and less work for your Reputation Management Department. This way, you are turning your resident into a promoter. Not only that they are doing free advertising for you, but they may end up renewing their lease, therefore......
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A Data-Backed Strategy to Drive 150bps to Multifamily Rent Per Unit (RPU)

iStock-637151514I’d like to take a moment to talk about a piece of the demand management platform that often doesn’t get much attention—handling the initial prospect call. Specifically, I’d like to make the case for using a professionally-run call center (full disclosure: I am on the Board of, and an investor in, Anyone Home though I like to think of that as “putting my money (and time) where my mouth is”) So as not to bury the lede, I’d like to ask you if you would be attracted to a solution with a proven track record of raising RPU (revenue per unit) by 150bps? Okay, that’s the kind of “salesy” question meant to get your attention since there’s clearly only one logical answer to that. However, those of you who know me, know that I’m educated as an engineer and I don’t make claims like that without solid, proven test data. Though not necessarily well publicized, that very specific data exists. Several years ago, when I was a senior executive at Archstone, I ran a project where we put 20 “test” communities on a third-party “all calls” platform and compared them to 20 pre-selected “control” communities. All communities were in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC metro areas (not all in the core Commercial Business Districts of those MSAs) There were roughly 7200 units each in the test and control groups The test ran for 9 months Candidly, I went into the test a bit of a skeptic. I thought “How could a third-party agent, located hundreds or......
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SEO & Apartment Marketing: The Next Step

SEO & Apartment Marketing: The Next Step
A very long time ago (circa 2008) the leasing world was a simpler place. Place an ad on Craigslist or in a newspaper, and sit back and watch the renter leads flow in. The most complicated it ever got was when you wanted to add a template to Craigslist. Those were what I would call "the good old days."  Flash forward ten years and the leasing world could not be more complicated. From ILS sites, listing syndication systems, Social Media, Blogs, Google Adwords, Remarketing and more, there are numerous marketing channels to choose from. However, there is one area that could be the most important, but seldom gets the attention it deserves, Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Curiously most apartment communities either don't think SEO can have a significant impact, or are dissuaded by trying to compete with the "big boys." Whatever the reason, SEO needs to be the next step in your apartment communities marketing efforts.  What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?  Search Engine Optimization is the process of building a strong search engine presence to ensure visitors can more easily find your website amongst all your competitors online. The primary aim is to improve your websites page ranking so that renters will see your website when they type specific keywords or phrases into search engines like Google.  In simplest terms, it's getting your website to the top of search engine results for searches that your renters conduct (i.e., apartments in Charlotte, rentals in San Antonio, etc.) Why is Search Engine......
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The Positive Impact of ORM on Apartment Operations

The Positive Impact of ORM on Apartment Operations
If you were asked to provide an example of just how much the multifamily industry has changed over the years, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more powerful one than the emergence of online review sites like Yelp and Google. As apartment communities across the country have learned, reviews posted by residents and prospects – and the online responses of operators – can make the difference between sinking and swimming. Consider this: according to a Kingsley Associates study conducted on behalf of RentPath, 91.4 percent of apartment shoppers rely on reviews and ratings at least to some extent when looking for their next home. These days, effective online reputation management (ORM) is absolutely vital to a community's success. But it's also important that operators and their onsite staffs not become intimidated by ORM or view it as a form of drudgery, simply yet another item to be checked off the daily to-do list.  Instead, apartment companies should embrace ORM enthusiastically and look at it not only as a necessary endeavor in today's marketplace but as a great opportunity to improve their operations. Free Market ResearchForward-thinking operators know that a robust ORM program can produce more than a slew of five-star ratings. They have realized that the honest online feedback can serve as invaluable – and free – market research into how to improve operations at their communities.  That's because when they're motivated to leave an online review, residents are inclined to provide the kind of raw and honest assessments they might not pro......
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Eight Ideas To Implement Support Team Recognition

  All too often, the preparation teams at our properties aren’t recognized for their efforts. We couldn’t function without the housekeeping, maintenance and grounds crew.  They clean the common areas, care for the grounds and prepare apartment homes for new residents.  Team recognition to colleagues, prospects or vendors can be as valuable to employee retention as compensation and benefits. Housekeeping and Maintenance teams are the backbone of every Property Management staff.  We can create more ownership by emphasizing and recognizing the efforts of staff. We can start the recognition environment during the leasing process or move in event.  Maintenance or housekeeping could be scheduled for quick introductions with new residents. The Hospitality Model The hospitality industry incorporates this recognition with comment cards  left in guest rooms and signed by the housekeeper.  For apartment communities a welcome letter signed by maintenance, housekeepers and any contractors who participated in the turnover preparation of the apartment home can initiate this recognition. Included in the Welcome Move In Package should be a Team Introduction Letter.  The letter including pictures of the entire team must be revised with any staff changes.  With pictures of the team listing names, years of service and a tip or quote offers a personalized note. Post cards on hallway bulletin boards in each hallway with the tag line, “This hallway is professionally cleaned for you by ….”  Offers another opportunity to recognize the housekeeping crew. Knowing Who To Expect I recently experienced the inconvenience of having my luggage delayed on a flight.  When my luggage was located, I received a......
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